Boston College Amoris Laetitia Agitprop Workshop and Schrödinger’s Cat

SchrödingersCatI wrote about the first installment of coverage of the agitprop workshop going on at Boston College about issues concenring Amoris Laetitia.  HERE

It seems to me, having read something about the second round (including the talk about Jesuit Fr. Antonio “2+2=5” Spadaro) that this is a practical workshop for agents wherein they are giving them marching orders and talking points for how to attack those who disagree with their interpretations.

That said, I am at present in Napa Valley, speaking at a Men’s conference.  We are on a break right now.

I just had a great conversation with a fellow who is a physicist.  We were talking about the work of another physicist who was part of the gravity team which was awarded the Nobel Prize.  He is trying to reunite physics and physika, Aristotelean principles properly understood. In any event, in the course of our chat the classic case of Schrödinger’s Cat came up.  Also, in our chat, in reference to the BC agitprop workshop I observed that, right now, those who are undermining Catholic teaching with ambiguity and chatter about “lived experience” have jettisoned the principle of non-contradiction.

Something hit me.

The people who are saying, in effect, that people who are in the state of sin can go to Communion without confession and a firm purpose of amendment, are like those who stand in front of the box containing Schrödinger’s Cat.  Except, they refuse to open it in order to find out what’s inside.   So long as they never have to open the box, the cat is both alive and dead at the same time.

It strikes me that that is what is going on when questions are asked (“Is the cat dead or alive inside that box, Prof. Schrödinger?”) and, instead of opening the box to find out, the key is squirreled away in a place no one can access.   Hence, you can have one bishops conference interpreting Amoris one way while another conference goes another way, in blatant violation of the principle of non-contradiction.

Refuse to look and you can have it anyway you want.

That’s fine when it’s just a cat in a box.

It’s not fine when we are talking about the salvation of souls.

Please share!

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39 Responses to Boston College Amoris Laetitia Agitprop Workshop and Schrödinger’s Cat

  1. Sawyer says:

    “Refuse to look and you can have it any way you want.” I believe it’s more like, “Refuse to acknowledge the obvious and you can attempt to pretend you can have it any way you want.” Whether the vast majority of divorced and civilly remarried Catholics are living in an objective state of grave sin is not something that is even close to being debatable. The people who want to interpret and apply AL contrary to the Church’s Tradition are looking the other way, not refusing to look.

    It also struck me that the people at the Boston College conference decrying those who would allegedly infantalize the laity by holding up some universal moral norms as always binding are probably the same sort of people who opposed the revised English translation of the Roman Missal for the word “consubstantial” and the elevated language of the prayers. They wanted to infantalize the liturgy and Mass-going Catholics by dumbing down the texts of the Mass.

    The ones who are guilty of infantalizing Catholics are those who support lowering standards, whether in liturgy or in morality. The mature strive to elevate themselves and others; the immature seek to debase themselves and others.

  2. JonathanTX says:

    But, the box has been open for 2,000 years hasn’t it?

    No, it’s more like Spadaro et al. put a dead cat in a box and hid the key. When we tell him the cat is still clearly dead, he says that the cat is “the protagonist of its own destiny” and that we are “not merciful” because we have “colonized” the box by denying the cat’s “lived experience.”

  3. Chris in Maryland 2 says:

    For a fake-Katholic university to warn against infantalizing people is a gift of unintended irony.

    Proving that they are not as smart as they ought to be.

  4. Denis Crnkovic says:

    The good Dr Schrödinger’s cat was meant to represent the possibility or impossibility of two contradictory realities. Einstein carried Schrodinger’s paradox to its reasonable end: “You,” Einstein addressed Schrödinger in a letter “… are the only contemporary physicist… who sees that one cannot get around the assumption of reality, if only one is honest. Most of them simply do not see what sort of risky game they are playing with reality—reality as something independent of what is experimentally established. … Nobody really doubts that the presence or absence of the cat is something independent of the act of observation.” In other words, no matter how desperately certain people want to ignore it, they cannot deny the reality that sin is sin, whether they acknowledge it or not. And ignoring that truth is a very risky game indeed.

    Fr. Z's Gold Star Award

  5. Lurker 59 says:

    Quantum mechanics states that one can either know location or state of a particle because the act of observing one makes the other’s indeterminate (or more accurately determined by the act of observation but the non-determined state unknown)). A quantum particle IS in two places at once and/or HAS two states at once, but observing the state of the particle changes the location and vice versa. Schrodinger’s Cat is largely about the paradox that one arrives at by refusing to observe the radioactive state of the isotope in the box. It is aking to the question of “if a tree falls in the forest and no one is around to hear it, does it make a sound?”

    I don’t think that the game that is being played with morality here is a refusal to “look into the soul of the individual” because they are not saying that “as we cannot know, go to communion” but rather they are saying “we know and you are not sinning so go to communion”. [Orrrrrr… instead of talking about souls, perhaps focus – as I did – on the long-range consequences of not answer the Dubia.]

    It seems to me that we have gone well well beyond the early 20th-century existential crisis of despairing the knowability of the will of God / the supernatural was knowable and the subsequent flattening of morality (which takes revelation to know) into ethics (which can be known from philosophy)

    It seems that we are going well beyond simply saying that the of Martha is what is important as the life of Mary cannot be known and thus lived, the rejecting of ever existing of Mary )and sticking into the closet all those who still say that Mary exists and that she chose the better portion), to a supra-naturalization of Martha.

    What is important is not the state of the cat, but that one experiences that which the cat experiences. Or something. Not sure if this monstrosity is fully birthed. It still might be gestating.

  6. FrAnt says:

    Our Lady said that the Rosary is a weapon against heresy. May I suggest to your readers we pray for the stifling of the heresies in the Church today and for the conversion of those who propagate such heresies. We can talk all we want about the errors, but these errors must be eliminated through prayer. Our Lady of Victory, pray for us.

  7. As it happens, the assumptions needed to … suspend the Cat in Extended Superposition… are that the whole Cat-Zyklon-Radioisotope system are quantum-isolated from the rest of the world: that Observing it by Any Means be Preventible.

    This is, you will note, a difficult proposition, as most boxes will not prevent the audible sound (e.g.) of a former-Cat falling over being measurable: silence (or faint mewing) is as good as a measurement of Living Cat, and a thud as good as of a Cat Decease.

    Which is to say: it’s all very well to make jokes about Cats, but if one truly believes that his acts are totally unobserved, that he is deluding himself.

    [It is ironic in an amusing sense that I am drawn to jot that you may have overthought this… in a post mentioning Schrödinger’s Cat!]

  8. paladin says:

    Not meaning to go too far in pursuit of this, but: Lurker 59 wrote:

    Quantum mechanics states that one can either know location or state of a particle because the act of observing one makes the other’s indeterminate (or more accurately determined by the act of observation but the non-determined state unknown)). A quantum particle IS in two places at once and/or HAS two states at once, but observing the state of the particle changes the location and vice versa.

    I don’t see how the second statement (“A quantum particle IS in two places at once and/or HAS two states at once”) follows from the first (“Quantum mechanics states that one can either know location or state of a particle because the act of observing one makes the other’s indeterminate (or more accurately determined by the act of observation but the non-determined state unknown)”). Let’s say that we have a particle whose position is known but whose state is not; let’s suppose that the particle’s position (let’s use a number line for ease) is at “5”, while the particle’s velocity (which probably isn’t a very good term for a tiny quantum particle… but… again, for ease) is x + y (original velocity “x” combined with the velocity resulting from being observed “y”). The fact that we don’t know “x” or “y” or “x + y” wouldn’t logically imply imply that any of those velocities could have multiple values at the same time; it implies only that x, y, and x + y have many POSSIBLE values, and that observers don’t happen to know WHICH values they are. In fact, none of those three velocities could possibly have multiple values at once, any more than I could have multiple ages at the same time, or multiple first names at the same time (whether or not anyone is ignorant of either). The fact that someone might guess my age to be between 30 and 50, but not know which of the many ages between 30 and 50 I might hold, for example, doesn’t imply at all that my age is several of them at once!

    The main point seems to be (and Einstein’s comment to Schrodinger seems to confirm that they both knew this–thank you, Denis!) that the tendency of modern physics to claim that “the act of observation influences attributes of real particles, therefore perception = reality” simply doesn’t work, and is in fact something of a self-delusional exercise in bad philosophy. (The premise is true, and the conclusion is false, and the conclusion does not follow from the premise.) Just so, in the moral life: the fact that one is ignorant (willfully or otherwise) about the moral status of an act does not mean that the act is bereft of moral status, or that the act somehow (magically?) can possess two or more mutually exclusive moral states at the same time. The Law of Non-Contradiction still holds, even for issues of quantum physics and morality.

  9. Gerhard says:

    That conference. If the sensus fidei of the “faithful” says “we really enjoy going to Hell in a handcart, it feels soooo goooood, don’t try and stop us”, must the priest help them go there, or, like a shepherd facing a stampede from his sheep, try and block them?

  10. Gerhard says:

    So we are now supposed to defer to others’ consciences. How about the priest? Doesn’t he have a conscience worthy of respect too? If some selfish, warped-thinking adulterer wants Holy Communion, and the priest knows of his situation, must the priest’s conscience be overridden and the priest forced to give It when in good conscience he cannot do so?

  11. Fr. Vincent Fitzpatrick says:

    More than a decade ago, Cardinal Wuerl was arguing that it was inappropriate to deny Communion to Washington’s hundreds of pro-abortion politicians. He gave many reasons, all of them easily exploded by anyone with a minimal knowledge of moral theology and canon law. Naturally, they were exploded by Cardinal Burke years ago. http://tinyurl.com/canon915

    One of those arguments was that Communion can never be denied unless the minister of Communion knows “the state of the soul” of a would-be communicant. As with every other argument in favor of sacrilegious Communions and the sin of giving grave scandal, this false claim has been repeatedly exploded.

    Little did anyone imagine, ten years ago, that this specious defense of grave scandal and sacrilege would become THE PIVOT POINT of an apostolic exhortation.

    Denial of Communion–which is mandated by the moral law and canon law absolutely without regard to the species of the manifest grave sin involved, whether abortion advocacy or adultery–has NEVER been predicated on a pastor’s or other minister’s supposed knowledge concerning the subjective guilt of the communicant. Yet, this bogus claim is the very heart of the rationalizations of anti-canon 915 bishops, and Amoris Laetitia.

  12. DeGaulle says:

    As Bohr said, ‘the quantum world is not real’ or Heisenberg that it exists ‘somewhere between possibility and actuality’, the only way to make things real is to open the blinking box. In other words, collapse the wave function of the undetermined portion of AL by answering the dubia.

    [YES! You got it.]

    Fr. Z's Gold Star Award

  13. steve51b31 says:

    As I seem to remember working through the computations decades ago now, the outcome was the certainty of a known reality (or truth) compared to the probability of truth of the circumstances present … all encased in the sphere of our ability to perceive the reality (truth).

    In was all easier to mathmaticly compute probabilities, but in our reality….a Soul is a Soul is a Soul!

    As an aside… this is the re-assertion of the V-II crowds argument of personal discernment now being championed by the “church” as public acceptance of that discernment.

  14. John Grammaticus says:

    whilst I do care about cruelty to cats (never mind abandoned spouses), I would like to hear about the the reunification of Physics and metaphysics.

  15. Thomistica says:

    Much of what we are seeing is a crisis of reason in the Church. [YES! We sure are.]

    A few decades ago there were dissident types around who, probably by virtue of their pre-conciliar Thomistic training, at least understood the value of rational discourse, even if their views could be dispatched as unsound.
    Now we have a new crop of dissidents. Agitprop is the right word. These people are idealogues and sophists. What distinguishes them is a denial that discourse has a basis in non-gainsayable, self-evident rational principles. Their mantra is that those who resort to such principles are imbalanced, rigid, rationalistic, too much concerned with the brain and not the heart, the notional versus the affective.
    But isn’t it obvious that the most mature persons anyone encounters in everyday life are those who have a balance between the head and the heart, intellect, will, passion and emotion, insight borne of experience, all playing their own appropriate roles. I.e., the whole person. Namely, the imago dei.

  16. The Masked Chicken says:

    Schrodinger’s Cat Paradox would never have worked if it had been Schrodinger’s Dog!

    Seriously, to clarify what Luker 59 wrote, in a quantum system all solutions to the wave equation exist, superimposed in Hilbert space, until the wave function collapses into a single determinate state. It was thought that the act of, “observing,” collapsed the wave function, but physics has no definition of what, “observing,” means. Indeed, the cat can observe whether or not it is alive; why does it need us to observe anything? If the cat is dead, the knowledge that it was going to die should be enough to collapse the wave function. This has lead to another notion of why the wave function collapses called decoherence. It, also, depends on what interpretation of quantum mechanics on subscribes to: Copenhagen, Bohmian, etc.

    Ambiguity is not like this, at all. Ambiguity is two non-superimposed definite states of possible worlds with the ambiguous term serving as a counterfactual access point between the two worlds (to borrow Mackey’s idea of counterfactual access points). One may stay in either world as long as one wishes. In other worlds, which interpretation one chooses is a willed act, whereas observation is merely sensory for Schrodinger’s Cat – it is intellectual realization that has no teleology.

    The divorced and remarried, however, are neither in a superposition of valid states nor living in ambiguity. They, simply, choose to deny reality. They know darn well that the Cat of their marriage was dead before they even put it in the box. They just hope that little quantum fairy dust or hocus-pocus-ambiguousus will bring the Cat back to life.

    The Chicken

    Fr. Z's Gold Star Award

  17. Thomistica says:

    Fr. Z,

    Re. “I just had a great conversation with a fellow who is a physicist. We were talking about the work of another physicist who was part of the gravity team which was awarded the Nobel Prize. He is trying to reunite physics and physika, Aristotelean principles properly understood. ”

    You would do well to recommend the following to the the physicist or others interested in a restoration of Aristotelianism in relation to modern science: http://www.u.arizona.edu/~aversa/scholastic/

    The River Forest project in Thomism has a few advocates, but largely died out a long time ago. It needs to be revived. There was promise there, but it did not c0me to fruition.

    Perhaps such a revival can play some small role in countering the insanity the pervades so much of “Catholic” “intellectual” life in all subject areas, even moral theology. All the pieces are there for a revival of the River Forest approach, given the relatively recent work that has been done in Aristotelian-Thomistic metaphysics, which has seen a kind of revival among some philosophers trained in so-called analytical philosophy.

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  19. Sieber says:

    “The Quantum Enigma”
    by Prof. Wofgang Smith

  20. Ultrarunner says:

    The people who are saying, in effect, that people who are in the state of mortal sin CANNOT go to Communion without confession and a firm purpose of amendment, are like those who sit in the confession box of Schrödinger’s Cat. So long as the Schrödinger Priest never has to open the box and see who went inside, the entire congregation is both guilty of mortal sin and living in a state of grace at the same time. This results in the paradox whereby priests serve communion to everyone, because priests really don’t have any way of knowing the actual state of the individual souls they personally serve. Refuse to look and they can have it anyway they want.

  21. Gail F says:

    The Masked Chicken wrote: “The divorced and remarried, however, are neither in a superposition of valid states nor living in ambiguity. They, simply, choose to deny reality. They know darn well that the Cat of their marriage was dead before they even put it in the box. They just hope that little quantum fairy dust or hocus-pocus-ambiguousus will bring the Cat back to life.”
    I disagree with the Boston AL people, but that is not giving them due. What they are saying, at least some of them, is that divorced and remarried people really did not know darn well that the Cat of their marriage was dead before they even put it in the box. They are saying that many poorly or uncatechized people only realize the gravity of what they have done AFTER they have done it (sometimes long after), and that therefore they should be able to be forgiven after they are appropriately sorry for it. While I think the conclusio is incorrect, THAT is what they seem to be saying, and to treat people who didn’t take the faith seriously or really didn’t know it was all that big a deal exactly like people who DID know what they are doing is neither practical or charitable. We see this frequently in women who have abortions, thinking it is “no big deal and their business,” only later to realize the real nature of what they have done. But in their case, they are not continuing to do it, the abortion is done. The divorced and remarried are in a very different situation, and they do deserve compassion and help when they return to the Church and are shocked and distressed to find that they have blithely done something that can’t be repaired. The Boston AL people seem to think “go ahead and said it’s okay,” while the more rigorous seem to say “deal with it — live and brother and sister for the rest of your lives, suckers.” The answer that they are to come to church but that they can’t have communion because they are living in an irregular situation seems to be off the table for almost everyone but seems to me to be the obvious solution, at least until we achieve getting people to take marriage seriously again (which, as it’s the normal state of human beings, seems to me to be inevitable).

  22. SenexCalvus says:

    The late Thomas F. Torrance, a Reformed theologian of the Church of Scotland, had much of value to say about the relationship between modern physics and theology. He was well grounded in the Fathers of the Church, Athanasius in particular, but even more to his credit, he actually did his theology on his knees. His writings are not easy to read, but his lectures, a number of which are easily found online, are likewise illuminating. On the relationship between science and theology, I’d take old Tom Torrance over Pope Bergoglio, Archbishop Paglia, and Fr. Spadaro any day of the week. All the while upholding the rightful claims of the natural sciences, Torrance steadfastly preached Jesus Christ — and Him crucified! — proclaiming that theology can and must be as scientific as physics in its pursuit of truth. He knew the sum of 2+2, even when doing theology.

  23. iPadre says:

    This sounds like the famous meeting of theologians at the Kennedy compound in Hyannis. We all know what came from that.

  24. PostCatholic says:

    I appreciate that you’re standing watch over the BC conference and Amoris Laetitia, but it invites the question: if the conference is describing Schrodinger’s Cat, do your posts make you Wigner’s Friend?

  25. spock says:

    The only good cat is a Schroedinger Cat. At least it’s toast 1/2 the time. Seriously folks, I loved Schroedinger’s cat. It was delicious ……

    Perhaps the non-response to the Dubia as well as this other new document promoted by Professor Shaw et al. is effectively us standing in front of the box not knowing how for sure how it will end. I think the delta here from the Schroedinger experiment is that the stats are not 50/50; they are something more like 99.9999/.0001.

    Live Long And Prosper, unless you happen to be Schroedinger’s cat……

  26. Grant M says:

    I’ve read somewhere that Schrödinger was being ironic: macro objects like cats cannot be in two superposed states as particles can. Therefore the cat is NOT dead-alive until we open the box, it is already either dead or alive: so we might as well open the box and find out.

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  29. Imrahil says:

    Particles cannot be in two states at the same time either, on plain logical grounds, which contrary to rumour Schrödinger’s equations and modern physics do not contradict. Schrödinger’s whole point with his cat was that as far as the measurer knows, they could just as well be in the one state as in the other, and that there is no way of ascertaining in which, since by committing a measuring act, one has had an effect on the system.

    Though the bigger your object is, the higher your probability that your measuring doesn’t change much. Provided the cat’s asleep and you don’t wake her up, there’s a good chance (read, any number of 9s between the 99. and the %) to get an exact measure of her tail length by appropriate physical means, and her tail doesn’t in some instant grow or shrink by the measure of 10. Small objects, higher “measuring risk”.

    But even particles are in one specific state. God knows in which one (this is not just a manner of speaking); man does not know, he only can measure, and measuring has an effect on the system.

    That is if I understood the things correctly.

  30. EVERYONE: Outstanding thread. Good work.

    Fr. Z's Gold Star Award

  31. Marion Ancilla Mariae says:

    Even if sin is not imputed to them because of their lack of understanding or awareness of Church teaching on this matter, is it not the duty of those with the teaching office within the Church – a most urgent duty – to acquaint the faithful with the norms of Christian marriage, and to convey to those to whom it applies, that to continue to receive Jesus in the Blessed Sacrament now that they are aware, but have not yet brought their way of life into conformity with Christian teaching, would be sacrilegious, or something bordering on sacrilegious?

    In this day, when so few Catholics seem to be aware of what the Church believes and teaches, is it not a primary duty of pastors and bishops to be diligent and zealous in seeking to bring the faithful up to speed on these matters? Now that we know that many among the faithful are strangers to God’s Commandments, why is it OK for pastors not to enumerate and explain these teachings during their homilies? Why is it OK for those doing marriage prep to fail to explain the indissolubility of Christian marriage?

    I believe that on that Awful Day, the Just Judge will be lenient to many persons who lived in irregular situations in ignorance, but He will be most severe with His own shepherds who were too timid or too lackadaisical to fulfill their duty to enlighten, guide, and teach His flock.

    Even if the subjective culpability of those living in irregular arrangements is doubtful, it would seem that the Shepherds are the sinners here, far more so the not-quite-married persons. The Shepherds are Accessories to Another’s Sin by Silence, . . . not to mention their negligence in tending and leading the lambs.

  32. QuietContemplative says:

    Gail F says:
    “The answer that they are to come to church but that they can’t have communion because they are living in an irregular situation seems to be off the table for almost everyone but seems to me to be the obvious solution, at least until we achieve getting people to take marriage seriously again (which, as it’s the normal state of human beings, seems to me to be inevitable).”

    That is, actually, exactly what good pastors do tell their flock that find themselves in this situation to do. There in lies the rub. Well catechized Catholics know that being out of a state of grace does not absolve one of their Sunday obligation. If a couple cannot remain continent, they should still go to Mass and refrain from communion. If they can remain continent, as Father has alluded to, it should still be something not displayed publicly to avoid scandal, if the priest even agrees that it’s a good idea. This still doesn’t make divorcee’s feel included, though. For too many it’s less about communion with Christ and more about communion with the body of Christ. In once sense, there is nothing wrong with that… but it has to be based on that love for Christ himself first or it is false as any other imagined goal outside of Him. Having had to go through just such a situation, I can say with conviction that my actions were formed by, directed towards, and wholly focused on Christ. It was for a limited time as the situation was unique and merely required waiting on the tribunal to go through the process, but before that became apparent, we were ready to set aside everything to be right with God. We love each other very much, but we love Him more. I wish more people could be lead to that state. What bothers me about all the modern controversies is how little I see any of that. They all seem to love whatever they are seeking exception for more than who they were seeking it from. Well… that was more than I intended to share…

  33. LadyMedievalist says:

    As an aside, if the other physicist is the one I am thinking it is, he played a monumental role in my husband’s conversion to Catholicism. His encounter with Thomistic philosophy applied to physics made my husband, an agnostic undergrad, want to learn more about the Church. And now he’s a professor, working to help his students understand physics through the philosophical lens. Encounters with Truth are life-changing

  34. Thomistica says:

    Sieber, thanks for the reminder about “The Quantum Enigma” by Prof. Wolfgang Smith.

    I forgot that there’s a copy of this lying around in the house somewhere. Time to read it!

    Re.
    http://www.u.arizona.edu/~aversa/scholastic/
    which I mentioned above, see the section lower left: Physics and Quantum in The Thomist.

    From which:
    http://www.thomist.org/jourl/1999/Jan%20A%20Smith.htm
    http://www.thomist.org/jourl/1997/973AWall.htm

  35. Ave Crux says:

    I just listened to a very frightening expose on the USCCB by The Lepanto Foundation. (link below)

    It proves the Bishops are very good at immediately *closing* the box whenever anyone opens it, and even denying what they saw when it was briefly opened.

    After watching this video, my blood ran cold to think of what their Particular Judgement will be like when Christ Himself opens the box and the Bishops are asked to give an account of the souls dead in sin which are found inside; and….as “something else” stands open at their feet as well.

    There’s a very good saying: “If you don’t want to go to hell when you die then you had better go there while you’re still alive!”

    Open the box and do your Episcopal duty, before it’s too late……!

    https://youtu.be/YnHzu6dkd3A

  36. The Masked Chicken says:

    Dear Gail F,

    You wrote:

    “What they are saying, at least some of them, is that divorced and remarried people really did not know darn well that the Cat of their marriage was dead before they even put it in the box. They are saying that many poorly or uncatechized people only realize the gravity of what they have done AFTER they have done it (sometimes long after), and that therefore they should be able to be forgiven after they are appropriately sorry for it. While I think the conclusio is incorrect, THAT is what they seem to be saying, and to treat people who didn’t take the faith seriously or really didn’t know it was all that big a deal exactly like people who DID know what they are doing is neither practical or charitable. We see this frequently in women who have abortions, thinking it is “no big deal and their business,” only later to realize the real nature of what they have done. But in their case, they are not continuing to do it, the abortion is done. The divorced and remarried are in a very different situation, and they do deserve compassion and help when they return to the Church and are shocked and distressed to find that they have blithely done something that can’t be repaired.”

    The pastors and bishops should, then, it seems to me, be pushing for annulments, not under-the-table agreements. If two people. truly, did not understand what they were getting into on the day they married, then this would be grounds for an annulment and, yet, this is not what they are pushing for. They want to pretend that the internal forum suffices for a sacrament that always includes the external forum. That seriously distorts the meaning of marriage.

    I hate to sound like a meany, but, really, how many people don’t understand, at least if they were raised nominally Catholic, that marriage is until death on the day they get married? If they are that hopelessly clueless, then the pastor should FORBID them from getting married in the first place. It is only when people start taking marriage seriously, and not like a Protestant contract that things will change. This whole idea of, “mercy,” outside of truly exceptional and rare cases, is nothing more than molly-coddling. Poor catechesis, lax moral, these are the things that pastors should be trying to correct, not letting mortal sin slide, after the fact and, yet, where are the calls for better catechesis, for stricter observance of moral norms?

    The Chicken

  37. jltuttle says:

    To the Masked Chicken:

    I recommend against using the phrase hocus-pocus. I came about as a way to mock Catholics and the Mass, i.e., Catholics believe in magic, Transubstantiation is hocus-pocus, “Hoc est Corpus meum.”

  38. Imrahil says:

    Dear jltuttle,

    I should recommend against your recommendation, on two grounds:

    1. The phrase “hocus-pocus” happens to be in use, however it came there.

    2. Why is Transsubstantiation not magic? There is a simple answer to that: a) it’s not occult, has nothing to do with hellish powers, b) it actually does work. – But when we give that answer, we shall find that our contemporaries do not mean either of this criteria (occultism, or charlatanery) as included in their definition of the word “magic”. (They will say: “He says he’s a magician but he’s a charlatan; there are no magicians”; not “he’s a magician and therefore a charlatan.”)

    We had better not, as we so often do when making the retort, play down our belief in the supernatural change that actually does happen in the Transsubstantiation, and does happen precisely when the priest says the words “Hoc est enim Corpus meum”. We don’t call that magic, because, to us, the word “magic” includes the use of occult powers; but our contemporaries, if they believed it but kept their use of language for a while, would call it magic.

    [RABBIT HOLE CLOSED!]